This website invites the Visitor for an extraordinary journey. It guides them to a region rich in natural values. Nobody should miss the countless peculiarities found along the two banks of the romantic River Drava if they are interested in this corner of the Carpathian Basin. It happened to be similar centuries ago for contemporary sources also touched upon the wealth of this land. In his work titled Hungária, Miklós Oláh depicted the area as a region blessed with fertile soil and good wine. However, this was also true for the land stretching from Sriem to Međimurje. Due to the prosperity, splendid cities were born where nobles with sophisticated taste, rich merchants and educated clergymen lived their everyday lives. They built several noble mansions, churches, schools, monasteries and chapels whose Gothic and Renaissance stylistic marks almost created an Italian atmosphere along the two banks of the Drava. Baths providing bodily refreshment and shrines offering spiritual tranquillity touched one another. Pious pilgrims could ask for the intercession of popular saints in the latter. The roads were peopled with merchants, students and frequent diplomatic missions as the road from Buda to the remote Italy led through this area. Huge herds of cattle were driven to the west while carts laden with baize and pottery rolled into the other direction.
Follow the trails of the past
The story of this website starts in the city of Ilok in Sriem in the east and then it continues in the historic county of Baranya. Later, the Visior might wander north of the Drava in the southern strip of the counties of Somogy and Zala, then in Požega south of the river, followed by Virovitica, Križevci and Varaždin, all in the romantic land belonging to medieval Slavonia. This 260-kilometre-long strip of land along the Drava was the most thriving area of the Kingdom of Hungary, one of the leading powers of Europe at that time.
Only faint traces of this former prosperity have remained by now. The Ottoman-Hungarian border warfare during the 16th century almost completely destroyed the land and the landscape dramatically changed between 1526 and 1566. Castles, mosques and türbes were erected instead of the palaces, churches and graves of saints in the area incorporated by the Ottoman empire, while bigger and bigger fortresses guarded the borders in the western parts retained by the Christians. Hungarian, German and Latin words were exchanged to almost all dialects of the Balkan Peninsula and the faces, clothes and customs also changed. Only war was certain in the region wedged between the two world powers as no village was safe from plundering soldiers on any sides of the borders. The culture of aggression spread and the land went under the Balkan sea, and only some small islands of the one-time Christian world survived in the form of castle ruins, rebuilt monasteries and churches. The symbols of the new world also appeared: the bridge spanning the Drava at Osijek, some mosques and türbes. Since the latter ones were also forgotten in the past few centuries, it is not easy to find the monuments of the vanished era. However, the 450th anniversary of the siege of Szigetvár makes the exploration of this heritage timely, and it helps the descendants recall this beautiful former world.